Magazine article The Nation

InterNation II

Magazine article The Nation

InterNation II

Article excerpt

Is Duncan Campbell (who spoke eloquently about opportunities for investigative research into the economics, politics and genesis of AIDS) the Seymour Hersh of the United Kingdom, or is Seymour Hersh (who gave a keynote address on the disincentivesto investigative journalism) the Duncan Campbell of the United States? This was only the most frivolous question debated over the course of two days at the Second International Conference on Investigative Journalism. Last year's meeting was held in Amsterdam under the auspices of The Nation and Vrij Nederland, the Dutch weekly; this year's was at the Royal Holloway College in Egham, a half-hour from London, co-sponsored by The Nation and New Statesman & Society, the British weekly.

The purpose of these conferences is to facilitate investigative reporting across national boundaries, a mission whose importance was underlined throughout the conference. Andreas Whittam-Smith, editor of the British daily The Independent; Praful Bidwai, senior assistant editor of The Times of India; and Peter Wivel, editor in chief of Denmark's Information, reported on the blunt instruments with which various governments have sought to bludgeon and suppress the free flow of ideas.

Panel discussions focused on such abstract issues as the relation of truth to fact (not to mention factoids) and such concrete ones as how to report the real story behind the economic integration of Europe (like delving into the Deutsches Bank's plans). They also touched on such troubling matters as the cutback in TV investigative units, the myth of evenhandedness, scoopism, the dangers posed by disinformation and the fact that only 2 percent of the flow of global information originates in the Southern Hemisphere. …

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